Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 300 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Aug 2021

Functionality Status:  Low/No Water or Mechanical Breakdown

Last Checkup: 03/16/2024

Project Features

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Kathamba ngii Community is found in a rural, peaceful area that has an average vegetation coverage of mainly indigenous trees. Most of the buildings here are made of bricks and covered with iron sheet roofing.

On a typical day, community members here wake up very early to fetch water and complete chores before working on their farms or as casual laborers for others. But it is the first task that defines the rest of their daily routine; accessing water is a challenge in this semi-arid region of Kenya.

"Our area suffers a long dry season every year. In such times, the few water points present are unable to meet the water demands of the existing population," explained Beatrice Mwikali.

Our main entry point into Kathamba ngii Community is the Kwa Mbunza Self-Help Group, which is comprised of households that are working together to address water and food scarcity in their region. These members will be our hands and feet in both constructing water projects and spreading the message of good hygiene and sanitation to everyone in this area. This is the third project we will complete with this group to improve water access for the more than 2,000 people living here.

Community members living on the edges of the village are still struggling with long distances to access the few water points available. This brings out the need for more water projects near their homes to achieve universal water access to all residents of the locality. We work with groups over multiple years to ensure that everyone has access to safe, reliable water close to home.

"Despite having implemented 2 water projects in our locality, the need for more water is rife because water is such an essential commodity in human life. I come from a bit far from the already-done projects and I have been struggling with the long walks to access water, which derails my personal development since I spend much time in the pursuit of water," said Tabitha Mutheke.

Reliable Water for Kathamba ngii

Hand-Dug Well

This particular hand-dug well will be built adjacent to a sand dam project, which will supply clean drinking water once it rains. We have supplied the group with the tools needed for excavation. With the guidance of our artisans and mechanics, the excavated well will be cased, sealed with a well pad, and then finished with a new AfriDev pump.

Excavation takes a month or more on average, depending on the nature of the rock beneath. Construction of the well lining and installation of the pump takes 12 days maximum. The well will be lined with a concrete wall including perforations so that once it rains, water will filter in from the sand dam.

This well will be located in Kathamba ngii Village and will bring clean water closer to families.

New Knowledge

These community members currently do their best to practice good hygiene and sanitation, but their severe lack of water has been a big hindrance to reaching their fullest potential.

We will hold hygiene and sanitation training sessions with the Kwa Mbunza Self-Help Group and other community members to teach about important hygiene practices and daily habits to establish at the personal, household, and community levels. This training will help to ensure that participants have the knowledge they need to make the most out of their new water point as soon as the water is flowing.

One of the most important topics we plan to cover is the handling, storage, and treatment of water. Having a clean water source will be extremely helpful, but it is useless if water gets contaminated by the time it is consumed. We will also emphasize the importance of handwashing.

We and the community strongly believe that all of these components will work together to improve living standards here, which will help to unlock the potential for these community members to live better, healthier lives.

We typically work with self-help groups for 3 to 5 years on multiple water projects. We will conduct follow-up visits and refresher trainings during this period and remain in contact with the group after all of the projects are completed to support their efforts to improve sanitation and hygiene.

Project Updates

August, 2021: Kathamba ngii Community Hand-Dug Well Complete!

Kathamba ngii Community, Kenya, now has a new source of water thanks to your donation. We constructed a new hand-dug well adjacent to a new sand dam on the riverbed. The sand dam will build up sand to raise the water table and naturally filter water, while the well will provide a safer method of drawing drinking water for the community.

It could take up to three years of rain for this sand dam to reach maximum capacity, however, because sometimes it only rains once a year! As the sand dam matures and stores more sand, the surrounding landscape will become lush and fertile.

"I will now have a safe place that our cattle can drink water," said fifteen-year-old student, Alfred M. "I will also have enough time to focus on my studies since I will not be walking long distances in search of water.

"My family will also get enough water for farming allowing them to get a source of income when they sell their produce. This way they will be able to pay my school fees. I will also be able to excel in subjects such as agriculture since I can practice farming at home."

The well will begin to fill with water during the next rainy season. Our teams will return here and we will share photos of the well in use as soon as that happens.

Hand-Dug Well Construction Process

Construction for this well was a success!

We delivered the experts, materials, and tools, but the community helped get an extraordinary amount of work done, too. They collected local materials to supplement the project, including sand, stones, and water. When all of the materials were ready, it was time to dig in!

First, we excavated a hole 7 feet in diameter up to the recommended depth of 25 feet. (Most hand-dug wells do not reach that depth due to hard rocks between 10-18 feet.) As planned, the diameter shrank to 5 feet when the well lining was complete. This lining is made of brick and mortar with perforations to allow for water to seep through. When complete, sand builds up around the well walls, which will naturally filter the rainwater stored behind the dam.

Once the lining reached ground level, we laid a precast concrete slab on top of the lining and joined it to the wall using mortar. The concrete dried for two weeks before installation. In preparation for the hand pump's installation, we fixed four bolts onto the slab during casting.

Next, the mechanics arrived to install the pump as community members watched, learning how to manage simple maintenance tasks for themselves. Finally, we gave the well another few days after installing the pump to let the joints dry completely. We installed the pump level with the top of the sand dam. As the dam matures, sand will build up to the top of the wall. Until then, people will use the concrete steps to get their water.

We worked with the Kwa Mbunza Self-Help Group for this project. The members and their families contributed materials and physical labor to complete the project. We trained the group on various skills, including bookkeeping, financial management, project management, group dynamics, and governance. We also conducted hygiene and sanitation training to teach skills like soapmaking and improve behaviors such as handwashing.

New Knowledge

This is the third project in this community. Our trainer conferred with the field staff about their previous visits to households and interviews with community members to determine which topics the community could improve upon.

The training was held near the construction site. Though the weather was hot, the trees around the place gave enough shade and fresh air; it was a conducive place to conduct the training.

We decided to train on health problems in the community, good and bad hygiene behaviors, the spread and prevention of disease, sanitation improvements, planning for behavioral change, handwashing, and soapmaking.

Different methods of water treatment were discussed, including water guard use, moringa seeds, boiling, and SODIS (Solar Disinfection). The group said that they learned boiling is the safest method of water treatment, since it doesn’t use any chemicals, and no germs can survive when water reaches its boiling point. Also covered were latrines: proper use and sanitation. Several members of the group stated that they had not previously considered latrines an important structure, but now they knew their importance in cleanliness.

Tabitha Matheka, the vice chairlady of the group, shared the following: "Some members who were not in the first training have gained sufficient knowledge on hygiene and sanitation that will help them in improving hygiene at their homes, thus reducing diseases. Water treatment is an activity that hasn’t been practiced well by many, but from today, we will put it into practice since we have learned the stages at which our water can get contaminated."

When an issue arises concerning the water project, the group members are equipped with the necessary skills to rectify the problem and ensure it works appropriately. However, if the issue is beyond their capabilities, they can contact our field officers to assist them.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

June, 2021: Kathamba ngii Community well underway!

Dirty and unreliable water is making people in Kathamba ngii Community sick. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point and much more.

Get to know this community through the narrative and pictures we’ve posted, and read about this water, sanitation, and hygiene project. We look forward to reaching out with news of success!

Project Photos

Project Type

Hand-dug wells have been an important source of water throughout human history! Now, we have so many different types of water sources, but hand-dug wells still have their place. Hand dug wells are not as deep as borehole wells, and work best in areas where there is a ready supply of water just under the surface of the ground, such as next to a mature sand dam. Our artisans dig down through the layers of the ground and then line the hole with bricks, stone, or concrete, which prevent contamination and collapse. Then, back up at surface level, we install a well platform and a hand pump so people can draw up the water easily.

A Year Later: Future Job Opportunities in Sight!

February, 2023

A year ago, your generous donation helped Kathamba Ngii Community Kenya access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Alfred. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Kathamba Ngii Community 2B.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Kathamba Ngii Community 2B maintain access to safe, reliable water. Together, they keep The Water Promise.

We’re confident you'll love joining this world-changing group committed to sustainability!

Last year, community members in Kathamba Ngii Community spent a lot of time and energy finding sufficient water to meet their daily needs.

“I used to struggle a lot to acquire water for drinking, cooking, bathing, or even washing clothes, especially during the rampant long drought seasons,” said 15-year-old Alfred M. "The nearest water source was about four kilometers away from my home. Carrying jerrycans of water back home was very exhausting, and I had to use the water very sparingly, which badly affected my personal hygiene."

But since a well attached to a sand dam was implemented last year, things have been improving for Alfred.

“Thanks to this water project, water is easily accessible. It feels good drinking clean water from this water point because it’s safe against human and animal contamination," said Alfred.

"I am no longer forced to spend most of my time and energy to fetch water at the distant previous water sources. It takes me less than five minutes to walk to the water point, and I spend less than ten minutes to draw water from the well. It's safe to use this water point because it is nearby and easy to use, unlike scoop holes that could, at times, collapse when dug too deep during peak drought periods.”

Now that Alfred has more time available, he is focusing on the everyday tasks of a boy his age and looking toward a brighter future.

“I have expended this time to engage in activities like playing with my friends or doing my homework. I believe I will be able to achieve better academic grades that will place me in better career opportunities in [the] future,” concluded Alfred.

Alfred near the well.

Navigating through intense dry spells, performing preventative maintenance, conducting quality repairs when needed and continuing to assist community leaders to manage water points are all normal parts of keeping projects sustainable. The Water Promise community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Kathamba Ngii Community 2B maintain access to safe, reliable water.

We’d love for you to join this world-changing group committed to sustainability.

The most impactful way to continue your support of Kathamba Ngii Community 2B – and hundreds of other places just like this – is by joining our community of monthly givers.

Your monthly giving will help provide clean water, every month... keeping The Water Promise.


Project Sponsor - Barbara Belle Ash Dougan Foundation